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Conflict in Common: Heritage-making in Cape York

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The outstanding natural and cultural values of Cape York have been acknowledged for decades, but those decades have been characterised by deep conflict. Non-government organisation intervention in local politics has seen a forceful push for nominating some or all of the Cape York Peninsula as a World Heritage Site. We illuminate the authorised heritage discourse at work in heritage-making, and highlight contested issues of ownership, governance, authenticity, and value. These themes contribute to the possibility of marginalising the voices of local people who wish to contribute to heritage-making in Cape York. Politics infuses all aspects of heritage-making in Cape York, and the specific experiences on Cape York reflect larger political processes occurring in World Heritage discourse. The paper draws on interviews undertaken in May and June 2012.
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Keywords: Cape York; Indigenous; UNESCO; Wild Rivers; World Heritage; authorised heritage discourse; nature/culture

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Wollongong, Australia

Publication date: April 3, 2014

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